LEAD WITH WE, with host Simon Mainwaring, is the podcast that reveals how brands survive in a crisis, thrive in a fast-changing market, and accelerate growth in a challenging future.
Discover how the world’s top companies and entrepreneurs are driving growth and impact that employees and customers now demand. What worked, what didn’t and what you need to do to get everyone to build your business.
Whether you’re a start-up, high growth company or large corporation, you’ll learn how to build your reputation, increase employee productivity, and inspire customers to promote your brand. Engaging, entertaining and actionable, this is your chance to listen in and learn a lot about how business does well and does good.
Simon Mainwaring is a brand futurist, global keynote speaker, and bestselling author. He is best known as the author of We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World and the Founder and CEO of We First, a strategic consultancy that works with brands to define their business strategy, company culture, and brand communications.
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Common Future’s Rodney Foxworth: Shifting Capital to Shift Power
Common Future is a mission-driven non-profit organization that has diverted nearly $300 million into marginalized communities through grants and low-barrier loans since 2001. And they just received a game-changing gift from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott. It was a pleasure to chat with CEO Rodney Foxworth on the precipice of this new chapter for Common Future. We spoke about his plans for building up this BIPOC-led organization to close the racial wealth gap in America, how his own experiences with racism inform this work, and how he and his team are building a powerful network of “wealth-holders” and “wealth-builders” to create lasting change.
Deanna Bratter Talks Sustainability At The World’s Largest B Corp: Danone North America
Deanna Bratter heads up sustainability at the world’s largest public benefit corporation: Danone North America. It’s a $6 billion food and beverage company with a massive portfolio of well-known brands. It was so refreshing to get Deanna’s perspective on finding the intersections between purpose and profit when advocating for change within a behemoth organization like Danone. We also spoke about the responsibility of not only being a B Corp but also a Benefit Corporation and how that has helped Danone set benchmarks for progress across all parts of their business, and how COVID spurred optimism amongst sustainability practitioners.
Rachel Lincoln Explains prAna’s Responsible Packaging Movement
Rachel Lincoln loved fashion, but she didn’t love how she saw the industry treating workers and the planet. So she joined a small California-based activewear brand prAna and worked her way to Director of Sustainability where she is now transforming the entire industry through the Responsible Packaging Movement (RPM). RPM is a coalition of pre-competitive brands who share knowledge and practices that reduce packaging waste and promote the use of sustainable materials and a powerful example of leading with we.
JUST Capital’s Martin Whittaker On Holding Business Accountable
Whether you know it or not, JUST Capital is playing a crucial role in business by supplying the economy with critical knowledge that holds companies accountable based on what they hear directly from the American public and how the American public believes they should behave. In this episode, JUST Capital CEO Martin Whittaker and I had a thought-provoking conversation around the present and future of business. We explored how JUST’s public rankings help direct market forces to build a better future, where we are in the journey towards stakeholder capitalism, why it’s absolutely necessary to create a more equitable economy, and what business leaders can do to bring about this change.
AARP’s Jean Accius On Creating Age-Inclusive Workplaces
Diversity, equity and inclusion should be top of mind for any business leader, but we don’t often think about age when it comes to DEI. In this episode of Lead With We, I’m sharing a conversation with AARP’s Jean Accius, who shared some fascinating research about how businesses benefit from a multigenerational workforce. We talked about why age diversity is a competitive advantage, how businesses can be more inclusive of workers over 50, and what Jean thinks the private sector can learn from nonprofit leadership.
Urban Remedy’s Paul Coletta On Reimagining Our Food System
As CEO at Urban Remedy, Paul Coletta is pushing back against our industrialized food system by trying to cracking the code to bring ultra fresh, clean, and convenient food to consumers at scale. In this episode of Lead With We, Paul and I chatted about taking an omnichannel approach to brand-building, partnering with hospitals, and his vision for how technology could help reduce food waste and make healthy food more accessible.
How Cleancult’s Ryan Lupberger Is Redefining “Clean”
As a college student, Ryan Lupberger wanted cleaning products that were actually clean. But even nontoxic brands used wasteful plastic packaging. So he decided to create the eco-friendly, zero-waste cleaning brand, Cleancult. In this episode of Lead With We Ryan shares how focusing on product efficacy helped everything else fall into place, partnering with CarbonFund to ensure operational sustainability, and the surprising advice he got from his parents for weathering the long and winding journey to business success.
Reimagining Capitalism With Harvard Professor Rebecca Henderson
Rebecca Henderson teaches at the Harvard Business School, but she’s a vocal critic of “business as usual.” In fact, her scholarly research focuses on how we need to change capitalism in order to overcome the myriad of crises humanity is facing, and she recently published a book on the topic called “Reimagining Capitalism In A World On Fire.” Rebecca and I have some things in common, so it was a pleasure to speak with her one-on-one about how we can shift our economic system to drive positive change in the world. It may sound daunting, but she gives some really actionable advice that any business leader or employee can put into practice.
Rachel & Andy Berliner: The Story Behind Amy’s Kitchen
Rachel and Andy Berliner started Amy’s Kitchen based on their own need. Like many new parents, they needed some convenient meals after the birth of their daughter, Amy. But they couldn’t find high-quality, frozen, organic vegetarian food in stores, so they decided to make it themselves! In this episode of Lead With We, I spoke with Rachel and Andy about how they helped bring about a major shift in the American food system, and how they built a business that aligns with their values.
Starbucks’ Virginia Tenpenny On Leading By Listening
When it comes to social impact, Starbucks has been leading the pack for decades. In fact, it’s hard to keep track of all their initiatives, from local community grants to groundbreaking standards it created to source ingredients like coffee beans and cocoa. In this episode of Lead With We I got the chance to chat with Virginia Tenpenny, Starbucks’ Chief Social Impact Officer, who shared how Starbucks brings purpose to life on a daily basis, the future of leadership, localizing large scale impact, and the importance of treating your employees like partners.
Google’s Michael Muñoz & Performance Paradigm’s Reggie Butler: Re-Centering Humanity in Business
Lots of companies are talking about diversity, equity and inclusion these days, but what does it mean to actually move the needle in those areas? Each of us has a role to play in bringing about a better future, and business leaders are uniquely positioned to create lasting change. In this episode of Lead With We, I had the privilege of speaking with Michael Muñoz, Global Marketing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lead at Google, and Performance Paradigm’s Reggie Butler about the lessons they’ve learned doing DE&I within today’s leading corporations. We spoke about re-centering our shared humanity in business, what needs to happen if we truly want things to be different, and more.
Square Roots’ Tobias Peggs Is Using Tech To Build A Better Food System
Whether we like it or not, our current food system is unsustainable. Luckily people like Tobias Peggs are re-engineering how food is grown and distributed in ways that are better for people and the planet. Using real time data and machine learning to create the right climate conditions for growing produce, Tobias’ company, Square Roots, uses refurbished shipping containers situated near local retailers which drastically reduces waste and carbon emissions. In this episode of Lead With We, Tobias and I chat about how his experience working within Walmart led to his idea for Square Roots, the incredible power of tech in agriculture, creating the next generation of farmers, his purpose-driven approach to business and more.
Interface’s Erin Meezan: Taking Sustainability From “Why” to “How”
The modular flooring company Interface has one of the most forward-thinking sustainability visions in the building industry and the private sector in general. Interface’s late founder, Ray Anderson, pivoted the company to an aggressive sustainability path over 20 years ago, and it’s up to Chief Sustainability Officer Erin Meezan to continue and build upon his legacy. In this episode of Lead With We, Erin and I spoke about going beyond the “do-no-harm” approach to sustainability and actually reinvigorating the planet by building a regenerative business model through partnerships, biomimicry, shared industry tools and more. When it comes to climate, the timelines we’re working against can be daunting, but listen to this episode and learn how there really is a better way.
MIT’s Sherry Turkle: Vulnerability Is A Superpower
I first met Sherry Turkle about ten years ago at a conference where we spent hours chatting about how rapidly advancing technology is changing our relationships to each other and ourselves, and how that affects all sectors of society. It’s something Sherry has spent her life studying as a psychologist and sociologist at MIT. In this episode of Lead With We, I got the chance to reconnect with Sherry, who recently published a memoir called “The Empathy Diaries.” We spoke about how vulnerability is key to everything from great leadership to moving forward a society post-COVID, practicing empathy as an action, and so much more.
Coolhaus’ Natasha Case On Using Business to Shift Culture
Natasha Case started in architecture and landed in ice cream after one of her professors compared a project of hers to a layer cake. So she took her creative energy and co-founded the premium ice cream brand Coolhaus with her wife Freya Estreller in 2009. Since then Natasha has used the brand as a platform to inspire other LGBTQ+ millennial entrepreneurs. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Natasha, chatting about the importance of partnering with other brands that share your values, how business can be a vehicle for positive cultural change and some of her tips for succeeding in the early stages of building a brand.
Bolthouse Farms’ Jeff Dunn Discusses Empathetic Leadership and Plant-Based Foods
Jeff Dunn cut his teeth at Coca-Cola and gained even more experience in the food industry with the Campbell Soup Company. But where he found his passion was becoming CEO of Bolthouse Farms, a packaged foods company that grew out of a small Michigan farm in 1915. In fact, that passion led him to buy the company back from Campbell’s after selling it to them in 2012. In this episode of Lead With We, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff about how differences in company culture led to the buy-back and taking an agile approach to consumer packaged goods.
Cooks Venture’s Matthew Wadiak: From Meal Kits To Regenerative Agriculture
Matthew Wadiak went from being a chef to founding Blue Apron, the first meal kit company to go public, and now he’s disrupting food yet again through Cooks Venture. In his newest endeavor, Matthew is pioneering regenerative systems that span the entire value chain of animal agriculture. I learned so much during my conversation with Matthew. Listen to the episode to understand more about the flaws he’s addressing in our current food system, building brand awareness online to challenge the status quo, and so much more.
CMO Wendy Hauteman On VSP’s Purpose After 65 Years In Business
Following the company’s 65th anniversary, VSP Global’s Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Hauteman decided it was time to craft a new purpose statement. It wasn’t a marketing initiative, but rather a way to set VSP up for future growth in an increasingly competitive industry. Wendy and I worked together to bring purpose to life at VSP. Listen to our conversation to find out how she got buy-in from all levels of leadership and brought employees along during the process, how VSP has kept purpose alive through a network of internal ambassadors, and how purpose has come into play at VSP in terms of innovation, responding to COVID and more.
Why Lynne Twist Believes Business Leaders Should Learn From Indigenous Peoples
Lynne Twist is one of the most incredible people I know. She became an activist after she was inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s vision of a global society in which no one was left behind, and since then she’s gone on to write her revolutionary book, ‘The Soul of Money’, examining our cultural attitudes towards wealth. Today, Lynne runs the Pachamama Alliance, an organization that connects leaders in business to indigenous leaders that protect the Amazon rainforest to support personal and collective transformation. She brings with her pure positivity and a powerful message so enjoy our conversation on how business needs to change in order to meet the social and environmental challenges we face.
How Thistle’s Ashwin Cheriyan Motivates People To Make Better Choices For Themselves and the Planet
Ashwin Cheriyan took the leap into entrepreneurship with his wife, Shiri Avnery, when he started the plant-based meal delivery service, Thistle, in 2013. He was a former corporate lawyer, and she was a climate scientist frustrated by how little people were talking about the environmental impact of reducing demand for animal products, let alone the impact on human health. They knew that getting people to shift their eating habits meant making plant-based meals more delicious and convenient. In this episode of Lead With We, Ashwin and I talk about how his personal connection to healthy food has sustained him through the inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurship, motivating consumers to make better choices.
Why Muniq’s Marc Washington Decided To Launch His First Company During COVID
Have you heard of the gut microbiome? There’s been a lot of buzz about scientific research about how the bacteria in our gut influences our overall health. And in this episode of Lead With We, I talk with first-time entrepreneur Marc Washington about how he launched a consumer nutrition brand called Muniq that uses gut health science to help people who struggle with health issues to take back control. We discuss the personal tragedy that led Marc down this path, his ambitious decision to launch the brand during a pandemic, and whether business is truly meeting the call to be more inclusive.
Aspiration’s Andrei Cherny Is Leveraging Consumer Spending For Good
Andrei Cherny has had a fascinating career. He worked with Al Gore in the early days of raising awareness about climate change and helped start the Consumer Protection Bureau with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Now, he’s taking on the exact same issues through his company, Aspiration. It’s a pay-what-you-want financial services model that allows customers to divest from things like gun manufacturing and fossil fuels. In this episode of Lead With We, Andrei chats with me about what led him down this path, some of the lessons learned, and how the role of money is changing.
Why B Corp? B Lab’s Anthea Kelsick On Changing The Culture Of Business
The B Corp movement was started by a group of conscious entrepreneurs in the early 2000’s who believed business should be about more than maximizing profits. Today, there are over 3,500 B Corps across the world. In this episode of Lead With We, I speak with Anthea Kelsick, the CEO of B Lab U.S. & Canada, which is the non-profit that certifies B Corps. We talk about the value of the certification process and accountability, how these companies collaborate on critical issues like reducing carbon emissions, and the incredible momentum around purposeful business today as we face mounting crises.
Futurist Sally Uren On How Volatility Unlocks Positive Change
Sally runs a leading sustainability non-profit called Forum For The Future that works directly with big brands and business leaders to create global change. Together we discuss the future of humanity (literally), and how we’re seeing very different trajectories play out simultaneously in real time. And what I particularly love about this conversation is that Sally points to growing movements, such as regenerative agriculture and impact investing, as proof that we can build a positive future through our actions. In this episode of Lead With We, Andrei chats with me about what led him down this path, some of the lessons learned, and how the role of money is changing.
Lead With We Is Back With NEW Episodes!
Lead With We is back for Season 2 with new episodes every Tuesday! And to kick things off, I’m sharing my thoughts on 2021 so far. Things got off to a rocky start in January, but there are many reasons to be optimistic when it comes to the future of business, the planet and society. And that’s really what this show is about. I’m also sharing a bit about the amazing guests we have lined up for you this season. Together we’ll discover how to re-engineer business to be a force for positive change in 2021 and beyond.